NARRAGNSETTâ€”At Wednesday eveningâ€™s school committee, a teary-eyed Superintendent of Schools Katherine Sipala gave her best wishes to Elizabeth Pinto, Administrator of Student Services, who is leaving Narragansett School System to work in the Rhode Island Department of Educationâ€™s Office of Student, Community, and Academic Affairs. Her resignation will be effective January 11, 2013.
â€śThis separation is sad for us here in Narragansett,â€ť said Sipala. â€śUnder [Pintoâ€™s] leadership our programs have grown and improved and flourished to the extent that we are now recognized as a district of excellence for special education services.â€ť
Pinto has worked as Administrator of Student Services at Narragansett since June 2007, and has been responsible for the development of numerous programs for students with learning disabilities as well as those for teachers seeking professional development.
Pinto created, for example the Alternative Learning Program (ALP) at Narragansett High School, as well as introducing a new behavior program at the Pier School and developing better student/parent relationships. She also led Narragansett pre-school staff through a thorough assessment and subsequent teacher improvement process called Gold Teaching Standards.
Sipala noted that the school district is actively looking for an individual to replace Pintoâ€™s position, but cautioned that the person would still be sorely missed.
â€śI worked with Beth for 10 years, in Jamestown and now here, and I say with great confidence that she has done her best work here,â€ť said Sipala. â€śWe are better for it. A search for her successor is already underway. I say successor and not replacement, as she will never be replaced.
Pinto was equally emotional in thanking the school committee for the opportunity she has had to work within the Narragansett School System.
â€śWorking with the families, students, administrators, faculty and staff under the leadership of [Sipala] has been a great honor,â€ť said Pinto. â€śUnder her guidance and with her support, programs for children with disabilities have been strengthened, improved and expanded.â€ť
â€śFamilies have been engaged and empowered, and staff has been afforded professional development opportunities which have changed studentsâ€™ lives,â€ť she added. â€śThe Narragansett School System is an outstanding place to work, and I will always be indebted to you for your acceptance and support over the years.â€ť
The career of school committee member Douglas Pierson was also celebrated Wednesday evening. He will not seek reelection in the fall and makes room for Keith Rinaldi as the next school committee member.
â€ś[Pierson] has served on the school committee since 2010 when he replaced Ray Rinaldi and, interestingly enough, Rayâ€™s son Keith will replace him,â€ť said Sipala. â€śI didnâ€™t want Doug to leave without noting his contributions over these two years, and when he came he contributed immediately and as actively as one could.â€ť
â€śIn two years he did not just sit at this table, but embraced all of our schools, and that came as no surprise to me,â€ť she added.
Pierson also thanked his fellow colleagues, as well as the educational community in Narragansett, for the chance he was given to help shape the institutional landscape of schooling in town.
â€śI wanted to say thank you for the experience,â€ť said Pierson. â€śI have been around a lot of school committees in my 34 years as an educator and it hasnâ€™t always been as pleasant as my experience here in Narragansett. You are all wonderful people to work with.â€ť
â€śWe had some disagreements and we worked through them, so it has been a real pleasure to be here and work with the teachers and administrators,â€ť he added. â€śI look to continue to keep volunteering at Narragansett Elementary School and to be active in the community.â€ť